Start Spreading the News


My airport is snowed in, flight delayed and all I wanted was a capuccino. Better luck next time, eh? (Hudson Hawk meets Die Hard).

OK let’s go see if they fix a better capuccino closer to the Hudson 🙂

Start Spreading the News

My airport is snowed in, flight delayed and all I wanted was a capuccino. Better luck next time, eh? (Hudson Hawk meets Die Hard).

OK let’s go see if they fix a better capuccino closer to the Hudson 🙂

Still Life in Paris


Actually, life here is anything but still. I love this place and am really looking forward to getting to know it better during the next two weeks.

TheSouthTrip: Valdosta, Georgia


Valdosta, Georgia is as pretty as I remember it. And the people are still the same. Just the way I like them. This time around, we visited the local museum and learned fascinating facts from the Lowndes county’s past. Did you know that

  • Doc Holliday was raised in Valdosta;
  • the trench gun that gave US troops the winning edge in WWI was invented by a Valdostan;
  • a man from Valdosta figured out a way to use sextants on airplanes.

Though small in size, the museum is very nice and one can easily spend quite a bit of time in there without getting bored for a second. Incidentally, we found plenty of WWI and WWII material related to Slovenia.

Valdosta, we will be back and I am sure we will discover something new each time we visit. Hopefully, it will not just be another shoppong mall or fast food place.

above: an excerpt from 3 May 1945 Stars and Stripes

TheSouthTrip: Key West Continued


Ernest Hemingway, a.k.a. Papa, kept a large number of cats, many of them polydactyls (Mother Nature gave them extra toes). When asked why, he replied that one cat just leads to another. No objections there from dr. fil. Photo above: Archibald Leach, a descentandt of Hemingway’s cats, taking it easy on the bed in Hemingway’s house master bedroom and apparently agreeding with the T-shirt message.  

Key West may be a tiny community, but there is still much to see and do. It has changed since I was here with my sister some eight years ago, but then again, what I truly loved about the place is still exactly the same. The people still have a great sense of humour and true to the nation of the Conch Republic that declared independence, declared war on the US, surrendered immediately and requested 1 million dollars in foreign aid. Simultaneously.

Photo of shark above by Pengovsky

Snorkling on the coral reefs is something else. With beautiful weather the visibility was perfect. Though perhaps super visibility was less desirable once we found ourselves at a few feet distance of sharks or when we were suddenly passed by a school of a dozen huge barracudas. Those things look mean!

One of the recommended attractions in Key West is definitely the Pirate Soul museum. We spent two hours in there, absorbing the plentiful information presented in a very attractive manner, supported by tastefully displayed original artefacts.

Next stop? Marathon.

TheSouthTrip: Key West


Watching the sunset on Mallory Square in Key West is the perfect way to start a night in the Conch Repubic. Let the parties begin! Papa probably would have wanted it that way.

(this guy is a self-taught genius on the guitar!)

TheSouthTrip: Miami


Miami skyline

Consider me pleasantly surprised. The decision to spend a couple of days here was one made at the last moment. Granted, it did take us ook us two hours to get off the plane once we landed as the airport had been shut down for three hours due to heavy rains and our plane had to wait in line. But the pilot had taken us all around the big bad scary clouds and touched down without as much as a tremble despite promises of heavy turbulence, so the wait was not a big deal. 

Waiting for a taxi after a three-hour airport shutdown

We decided to get a taxi instead of renting a car and boy did that turn out to be the right choice! It would have taken forever to get the car plus the taxi driver knew how to get around heavy traffic to the place in South Beach where we were supposed to stay the night. Except that our room had been flooded. We ended up getting a room five blocks away and although it’s just about the worst dump you can imagine, it’s relatively clean, air-conditioned and only a block away from the beach.

Oversized mojitos

After a 24 hour trip starting in Brussels, getting fingerprinted in Chicago and thanking the pilot for the smooth ride around the cumulus nimbii (?) we really felt like a walk down the Ocean Drive. Yummy lobster salad with avocado and mango! Should have checked the prices of cocktails as they could have served as a hint that the humongous glasses placed on our table easily have constituted a dinner all on their own. Considering they contained about four regular mojitos each, the $25 price tag wouldn’t be excessive. Had I been able to drink that much. Apparently, another diner that evening had consumed three of those with his food. Things that make you go… hummm.

I was under the impression that was where the sun don’t shine? Note the sun umbrella in the back… South Beach may well be the gay capital of the world.

The beach is something else. Aptly described by our tour guide as South Florida’s Silicon Valley, it’s the place to swim, sunbathe, watch and be seen. We took a bus/boat tour of the city and learned about its roots. The art deco buildings are beacutiful as is the entire Coral Gables district. Little Havana and Little Bahamas along with a number of other Littles, however, serve to remind that this is one of the poorest cities in the US.

Living the Good Life… or was that Livin’ La Vida Loca?

The stark contrasts were apparent this morning when I went out for a jog along the beach. Groups of semi-conscious kids finally heading back to their hotels yelling jibberish to each other from two-feet distance, tripping over homeless old men covered in newspaper trying to get some sleep, not disturbing the beautiful and fit ladies doing yoga and not catching a glance from the early morning joggers. Squirrels seemed unfazed as did the flock of green parrots.


Cappuccino and breakfast at the Cafe des Arts warmly recommended (I know, I know)

Good Morning, Sunshine



Faiche Stiabhna / St. Stephen’s Green
a beautiful park in Dublin
photo by dr. fil (click to enlarge)

Veiner NĂ«ssmoort (Vianden Nut Festival)


A rather international group (what else, this *is* Luxembourg! represented: England, France, Finland, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia) of new friends decided to join in on the local fun in Veianen (Luxembourgish for the town otherwise known as Vianden), which incidentally celebrates its 700 years of existance in 2008. Coming from Slovenia (no, not Slovakia) myself, allow me to appreciate the beauty of a language spoken by no more than some 300,000 people.

above: Eldoradio’s nutcracking contest

My first thought upon arrival was that these things are the same anywhere you go. Adriaan, this is the Lux version of Bohinj’s cow ball minus the cows and plus the nuts. And nuts there were! I did expect to see walnut liquer (nothing beats the walnut brandy made by the Amazons and good old Franc, though!) and saw countless supplies of “NĂ«ssdrĂ«pp” and the sweeter “NĂ«sslikör”, even the apparently recent yet popular addition of the white “NĂ«ss-Crème-Likör”. Just as expected were walnut cookies and cakes (NĂ«sskouch), but I would not have thought of “NĂ«sspâtĂ©”, “NĂ«ssbrutt”, “NĂ«sstoort”, “NĂ«sseeken” or  “NĂ«ss-Raclette”. Feel free to guess what these are. Should be easy enough. Of and the walnut wine tasted and smelled deliciously interesting even if not very wine-like.

Apparently, the stronger liquer  of 30% alcohol content is perfect for use with sparkling wine. A  nëss royal, so to speak? A bottle is waiting in the cupboard to put the recommendation to a test.

Vianden is a picturesque village where every other house seems to be either a guesthouse or a restaurant. With the possible exception of the castle, which dominates the area. Once upon a time, one of these houses hosted Victor Hugo as well.

The castle, which was completely restored in 1977 is well worth a visit.

What is it that all these OctoberFest type festivals around Europe have in common? Fun-loving Europeans!

And their friends from other parts of Europe.

And possibly cappuccinos? Nah… more fun-loving people!

Lo and behold,  Nëssdrëpp, Nësslikör, Nësskouch and Nëss-Crème-Likör.

And more of the above.

Crepes are always a crowd-pleaser. And do somehow seem local.

Which was more difficult to imagine in the above case of what was advertised as “home-made paella”.

Now waffles, on the other hand, were a different matter altogether.

Nothing beats a strong orator voice in attracting customers, eh?

Gosh, the chesnut stand made me think of and miss the best town in the world.

The local band. Gotta love the outfits. Not so much the music, possibly.

As the day progressed, people were getting exceedingly… cheerful? This lady was chucking walnuts at us just out of the goodness of her heart, as inspired by the walnut wine. Thanks!

Kiddo, I so know what you’re thinking…

No, that’s not the way adults should be behaving. But cut them some slack, it’s the nut festival afterall.

Pretty of what?

I think we decided to leave just in time.


Postcards from Dubrovnik


Just a few shots taken in Dubrovnik in August 2008.

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